Kultaranta Talks prepared with video conferences – virtual working groups address geopolitics, economy and society in the post-coronavirus world

The discussion on world politics. From upper left: Professor Stephen Kotkin, Unit Director Sini Paukkunen,Minister Jaakko Iloniemi and the Chair of the working group, Professor Hiski Haukkala. Photo: Matti Porre/Office of the President of the Republic of Finland

This year’s Kultaranta Talks will be broadcast live on Sunday May 24th at 18.15 on Yle TV1 and Yle Areena. Working group sessions have traditionally been a part of the Kultaranta Talks, this time they convened virtually already in the previous week.

The working groups discussed changes anticipated in geopolitics, economy and the Finnish society in the post-pandemic world. Their work creates a basis for the actual discussions to be held on May 24th.

The geopolitical consequences of the coronavirus

In the discussion on world politics, chaired by Professor Hiski Haukkala of the University of Tampere, the international working group focused on the geopolitical repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic. The intensifying competition between the United States and China, the development of transatlantic relations and the European Union’s ability to act will also be of growing significance to Finland. Future global leadership was another recurring theme in the discussion.

Aiming for economic renewal

The working group on the economy, chaired by Risto Siilasmaa, Chairman of F-Secure Corporation and Nokia Corporation, had already before the meeting produced extensive material on the expected short- and long-term impacts of the pandemic. Central among the topics underlined in the discussion were the importance of digitalisation and technology, the role of governments in responding to the challenges facing financial and economic policies and the fate of globalisation. Renewal was felt to be important, instead of aiming to return to the old.

A good society also after the coronavirus

In the third discussion chaired by Karina Jutila, Director of e2 Research, the participants explored ways of ensuring that Finland will emerge from the pandemic as a healthy society with minimum damage. Surviving the crisis requires reforms, but it may at the same time offer constructive opportunities to create new ways of working and thinking as well as a more broad-based debate on values. Key points raised in the course of the discussion were the sense of community, the position of young people, knowhow and investments as well as knowledge and culture.

These themes will be addressed in more detail in the main broadcast of the Kultaranta Talks on Sunday. Viewers can also participate in the discussions by sending questions and comments to yle.fi/kultaranta.

Members of the working groups:

  • Hiski Haukkala, Professor of International Relations, University of Tampere
  • Mika Aaltola, Director, Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Thomas Bagger, Doctor, Director-General for Foreign Affairs, Office of the Federal President, Federal Republic of Germany
  • Francois Heisbourg, Professor, Special Advisor, Foundation for Strategic Research
  • Jaakko Iloniemi, Minister
  • Stephen Kotkin, Professor, History Department, Princeton University
  • Sini Paukkunen, Unit Director, Unit for Policy Planning and Research, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
  • Constanze Stelzenmüller, Senior Fellow, Center on the United States and Europe, Brookings Institution


  • Risto Siilasmaa, Chairman, Nokia Corporation and F-Secure Corporation
  • Douglas Flint, Chairman, Standard Life Aberdeen
  • Jim Hagemann Snabe, Chairman, Siemens AG and Maersk Group
  • Tuuli Koivu, Chief Economist, Nordea Bank
  • Sixten Korkman, Professor Emeritus, Aalto University School of Business
  • Marjo Miettinen, Chair, Federation of Finnish Technology Industries
  • Mari Pantsar, Director, Finnish Innovation Fund, Sitra
  • Olli Rehn, Governor, Bank of Finland
  • Tuomas Saarenheimo, President, Eurogroup Working Group, Council of the European Union


  • Karina Jutila Director, e2 Research
  • Kari Jussi Aho, Family Business Owner and Entrepreneur, Rukakeskus Oy / Pyhätunturi Oy and Aho Group Oy
  • Elisa Gebhard, Chair, Finnish National Youth Council Alliance
  • Kirsi Hiilamo, Family Counsellor, Federation of Evangelical Lutheran Parishes in Helsinki, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
  • Kari Jordan, Vuorineuvos, Chairman, Outokumpu Plc
  • Jyrki Niemi, Research Professor, Natural Resources Institute Finland
  • Elina Pekkarinen, Ombudsman for Children
  • Susanna Pettersson, Director General, National Museum of Sweden
  • Juho Saari, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere

Kultaranta Talks website